First off, I want to preface this post by saying that I absolutely LOVE both of these
programs! I completed Alexa Jean’s (aka @alexajeanfitness on instagram) Guides for 16 weeks (continuously) and then followed those weeks with Kayla Istines (aka @kayla_itsines on instagram) Bikini Body Guide 1.0 for the last 7 weeks… And, over those 23 weeks I have completely changed my life for the better! That said, I have some info that I’ve gathered along the way, that might be helpful for you.
1) Access to the Workout:
- Both Kayla Itsine’s BBG (Bikini Body Guides) and Alexa Jean’s 30-Day Challenges (aka #SoreToTheCORE) are available in PDF format, so you can access them from just about any smart device… iPhone, iPad, computer, smartphone, tablet, etc. When you purchase the program(s) you will receive a link and then you can download the PDF documents and they are YOURS TO KEEP (for both programs).
- Something you should know about the BBG’s is that once you buy them you only have 48 hours to click the link and download them to your device, but with Alexa’s guides you have several dozen downloads and the link doesn’t expire for several months. That said, I just want to reiterate that the guides are yours to keep–you just have to make sure to download them and SAVE them to your personal device (I would also recommend opening a DropBox account to save them in the cloud, so they are there to access in case your computer crashes, etc).
2) Length of the Workout:
- The BBG workouts are very straightforward in this area… Each workout includes four 7-minute circuits, for a total of 28 minutes. That doesn’t mean you won’t be laying on the floor for another 20 minutes to catch your breath after the working, making this more of a 48 minute workout–haha, but seriously, I am NOT exaggerating.
- Each of AJ’s guides take me about 15 minutes, but I do not take resting breaks in between each circuit. That said, I start with the Butt/Leg Guide (about 15-20 minutes), followed by the Abs Guide (Sore to the Core–about 15 minutes), and finish with the Arms Guide (Upper Body Challenge) (about 10 minutes)… For a grand total of 45 minutes. Now these will kick your butt too, but for some reason (maybe it’s the order that I do them?), I am able to go straight from my workout to getting ready without having to take a “laying-on-the-floor-or-else-I-might-pass-out” break. **I will talk about this factor later, as it is an important factor to consider.
- Also, in regard to long-term length… Kayla’s BBG 1.0 goes includes 4 weeks of pre-workouts and then weeks 1-12 of the “regular workouts.” Each of Alexa’s workouts are 30-day challenges, for a total of 4 weeks… You can then repeat each guide, if desired.
3) Type of Workout:
- Both programs incorporate the same types of exercises (resistance training) in a
similar format (circuit training)–which I, personally, love. Every day is different so you will not get bored with the programs (can I get a hallelujah?). All of the BBG’s are time-based, so you have four exercises with set reps and then you have to do as many circuits as possible in 7 minutes (the more in-shape you are/become, the quicker you will do exercises and the more circuits you will be able to do in that 7 minute window).
- AJ’s Butt/Leg Guide AND Arms Guide are both rep-based, rather than time-based. So if it takes you 1 full minute to do 10 burpees, then so-be-it… You have to continue to do all the exercises with the number of reps listed, which (for me) takes anywhere from 15-20 minutes for the Butt/Legs guide and about 10 minutes for the Arms Guide. The Sore to the Core Abs Guide includes both rep-based and time-based workouts. Sometimes you do a certain number of each exercise, other times you do each exercise for 30-45 seconds… Overall this one takes me about 15 minutes to complete. Which do I prefer??? More on that in my summary
4) Gear/Equipment Needed for the Workout:
- Both programs can easily be done from the living room, with NO GYM REQUIRED 🙂
- Kayla’s program requires, in general, more equipment than AJ’s Guides… But you can make-do with most household items (for example, instead of using a step up bench I just used my coffee table). Some other items include a medicine ball, jump rope, bosu ball, etc.
- Alexa’s guides require light free weights (I use 5 or 8 pound weights) and, if you had hardwood floors like me, you will probably want a soft/squishy yoga mat too.
5) Focus areas for the Workouts:
- Kayla’s guides really focus on improving the whole body but, more specifically, it’s typically broken down like this: Monday: Legs and Cardio, Tuesday: LISS or HITT, Wednesday: Arms and Abs, Thursday: LISS or HITT, and Friday: Full Body/Cardio. They ALL get your heart pumping and will have you laying on the ground by the end of them.
- Alexa’s guides are area specific… So if you do all three (like I recommend) then you will be focusing on those areas: Butt/Legs, Core/Abs, and Upper Body (shoulders, arms and back).
6) Ease of the Workout:
- I probably shouldn’t have started this section with the word “ease”… Since that is NOT a good description of either program! Many of you have probably seen the hashtag #DeathByKayla or #SweatWithKayla… And I will say that the the workouts live up to those hashtags! I will also say that AJ’s hashtag of #SOREtotheCORE makes my abs EXACTLY THAT–SORE to the CORE. So, all in all, they will both kick your butt 🙂 If you do all three of AJ’s guides together, then both programs will provide a full-body workout that gets your heart PUMPING and your body sweating.
- I think the BBGs get my heart-rate pumping harder and longer, but I often have to modify the workouts, take rests in between my circuits, and sometimes feel discouraged when I finish the 28-minutes because I did not complete as much as I would have liked. With AJ’s workouts, I can take a short break if I need to in order to do all my reps and I always finish the workout feeling proud and satisfied with myself.
7) Community with the Workout:
- Kayla’s #BBGcommunity takes the cake for this category. Kayla has built an army (seriously–search the hashtag #KaylasArmy) of amazing women doing amazing things–including ladies building each other UP and supporting each other through their journey to amazing health. It’s not about “weight loss” (even though almost everyone loses weight and/or becomes more “fit” in doing the program)–it’s about becoming the BEST YOU and living a healthy and well-balanced life. I give Kayla 2 thumbs up, 10 toes, 2 knees, and both my elbows for her passion for lifting others UP! That is probably the BIGGEST thing that drew me in with Kayla’s programs–a sense of community.
- Alexa, if you are by some miracle reading this, I really wish you would build a stronger community in your following to bring people together in using your guides. I think this would also help more people stick-with-it and experience the same success and results that I did! I would love to see women using the hashtags #s2ccommunity or #S2Cmom etc., etc.
8) Program guide and rehabilitation:
- Kayla’s guides include a full description of each exercise, the reason why you should complete different exercise types (high intensity, low intensity, resistance training, rehabilitation, etc.), which is pretty awesome! She also includes some stretching guides and tells you to complete them after each workout. It definitely adds to the full scope of this fitness program.
- AJ’s guides do not include other workout info or rehab/stretching exercises. That’s not to say you couldn’t do basic stretching on your own, she just doesn’t spell out what kind of rehab exercises you should be doing.
9) Eating guides:
- Both Kayla and AJ have eating guides to coincide with their workout plans. I have purchased both and read through them… but I haven’t followed either of them. Both are great and are worth checking out, but I cannot speak to either of them since I follow my own eating plan (click here to access it for FREE).
10) Last, but certainly not least, PRICE:
- You can purchase Kayla’s Guides for $145 USD, which includes BBG 1.0 (weeks 1-12), BBG 2.0 (weeks 13-24) + Kayla’s HELP Eating Guide.
- On the other hand, you can purchase AJ’s fitness bundle (on sale) for $27!! That includes her Sore to the Core 1.0, Sore to the Core 2.0, Arms Guide, Butt & Legs Guide, AND her Clean Eating Guide. It’s seriously a GREAT deal.
Summary & VERDICT:
- So, which program do I think is BETTER? Which would I recommend? Which am I continuing with? I wish the answers to those questions were EASY, but they are not that simple… All in all, I think Kayla’s BBGuides are more comprehensive than AJ’s and provide a complete workout program; however (and this is a BIG however), I think I (personally) prefer Alexa Jean’s program *at this stage in my life* because I feel that I can more easily modify the workouts to my fitness level and work my way up from there.
- Also, I love how AJ’s guides are 4 weeks long, because I can keep my eyes on a prize for 4 weeks… And THEN start the guides over and just repeat, repeat, repeat. In doing this, I also feel my body getting stronger, so the workouts get *a little* easier as I go, which is a great reminder to myself that I AM getting stronger and healthier. In addition, I think Alexa’s guides are a little more low-impact, which is nice for a retired athlete like myself. I have had so much trouble with my knee in doing the BBG’s and feel that I push myself to the limit, which is GREAT… but at the same time my body does not respond to exercise the same way it did when I was in my early 20’s in my pre-kiddos days. That is NOT to say that BBG is only for young women–I think it is for all age groups! I just dont feel that my body is responding well to the intensity of the program, but I will definitely want to try it out again in the future as I continue to build strength and my fitness level.
- **This is, again, a personal preference–but I, often times, dread doing the BBG Workouts because they challenge me the most. Anddd… I realize that is NOT something I should be complaining about! Haha, it’s a workout for crying out loud!!! It’s supposed to be challenging and make you push your limits–and BBG definitely does that. However, for me, it also means that I do not look forward to working out, and that IS an issue for me. As a former collegiate athlete, I was always active and fit because I LOVED my sport (volleyball) and I looked forward to PLAYING, which meant that I looked forward to exercising. With BBG, I find that I am pushing myself really hard to maximize each 7-minute circuit, but then it’s like “Thank the Lord above, IT’S OVER!!” Does it give me a great workout? ABSOLUTELY! Do I dread the following workout because I know it is going to kick my booty? MmmmHummm! That said, please keep in mind that I am NOT saying that AJ’s guides are going to give you better results… I am just saying that I, personally, have had a much harder time sticking with BBG and feel that my body responds better to Alexa’s guides 🙂
- That said, you really cannot go wrong with either program–and if you stick with it and improve your eating habits then I fully believe you will have success and will, in turn, see great results.